Monthly Archives: March 2018


Another good weekend.
I worked on ukuleles and cooked some. Cream of asparagus soup with bacon bits yesterday as it’s in season. I even picked some from around the back yard where I know it grows, added to the TJ batch.
I prepped stuff for a batch of cool tamales. I used two red bell peppers, paprika, with cumin, oregano and garlic cooked down for a sauce. Just a couple drops of Tabasco for a controlled hint of heat. I cooked a pound of chicken tenders in water with onion and salt, save the broth. Cooled and shredded with a fork, mixed with the sauce and saved for today.
I worked on the second soprano ukulele (S2). I glued the back to the body clamped flat to the raised work surface. Something popped as I tightened the clamps, dang. Inside ribs came loose. Fix it again Tony, but I’m Dan, FIAD.
I cut the pieces of mahogany I surfaced last week for another bass on the table saw, one to match the back and in half for the sides. I used the hot tube lamp to bend the sides to fit the molds, always fun that. Bending wood with heat is really satisfying.
I used my tiny sharp Swiss card knife to trim down the S2 top and bottom close to flush to the sides, then sanded them flush smooth.
Today I bought a pound of Monterey Jack cheese to add grated to the tamales mixture. I mixed up a batch of masa using 3/4 cup lard whipped with a fork with a little saved chicken broth, 2 cups Maseca corn flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, half a teaspoon salt and enough broth to make a smooth dough. I boiled a bunch of corn husks to soften them and started processing. A two tablespoon ball of masa spread on the husk wide down, a fat tablespoon plus of mixture in the middle spread, rolled and sealed, the thin end folded up. Into the steamer pan. I used three jar rings to hold up my veggie steamer in my deepest pot with the canning cover on top. I had to make another batch of masa to finish the batch of filling, which filled the pan.
I steamed it for close to two hours, checking often, adding boiling water to keep the process going. They turned out great, really flavorful but not so uncomfortably spicy hot, really tasty.
I froze most of them in separate bags, ate a couple, a few for soon refrigerated. Score.
I cut up a bunch of cheap luan mahogany to use for liners on the table saw. I surfaced them down on the surface sander. In the process, something went BANG and the cover flew off broken. I finished the surface thinning carefully without the cover. I used the hot lamp to bend a couple into liners. Yea, I’ll need to bend two more. I glued and clamped the blown sander cover back together, it’s drying.
Meanwhile, I bent a wire jig to hold the rib inside the S2. This one came loose all the way out. The lower back rib came loose on one side. I used the syringe with a brass tube extension ground to fit the angle to inject wood glue to hold it in place. Then I applied glue to the back board and used the wire jig to hold it in place. Later I added more glue using the syringe extension. This should hold the ribs in place, a little messy, but deep inside, hidden.
A soprano nearly done, frets next and a new bass begun. A good day.



Happy Patty’s day! I had fun today. I picked enough wild asparagus to make a decent lunch with left over corned beef and potatoes. I planted some peas, turnips and radishes in the garden.
I also had a good time in the shop. I glued the ribs and bridge back brace into the second soprano uke using a large piece of metal to weigh it down.
It’s ready for the back to be glued into place as those ribs are already glued.
I’m scavenging together enough wood to make some more ukuleles. I’m running low on flat stock wide enough and matching grain for a good set. I dug out a few pieces that were cupped warped and heated them on my hot pipe 200 watt lamp. They bent enough to be flat, excellent. I pushed them through my homemade surfacer and got the rough sides smooth, flat boards 2.5 mm to 2 mm thick. One long one 6.5″ wide matches a shorter ones grain and if cut for the near matched back, then in half long will make the sides for a bass.
I have enough old growth Doug fir for the sound boards. The other pieces match well enough for another tenor uke using a long piece I’ve been saving for the bent sides all in one piece. No joint on the bottom sides, like I’ve been making the sopranos. So I made enough wood for two ukulele bodies out of warped mahogany using the hot lamp to bend them straight, how cool is that!
The second soprano (S2) is ready to glue the back after I sign it inside first.
Another fine day, back to work tomorrow.


 I just finished weed-whacking the front lawn after repairing the whacking machine. A challenge that, a drop of oil and two pipe wrenches to open it, restrung. I just cut the minimum, front inside the vardo wagon side, a path to the propane tank and one to the garden. More this week as the time warp gives late light, odd that. Darkness on the way to work over again.
We had a pot luck at work on Friday, I made lasagna as there was an Italian theme going. A large batch, two containers, all gone, that’s a good sign they liked it. Hurray.
Yesterday I cooked a batch of chicken noodle soup and more beef stew, frozen for lunches. Today I made a chicken penne cream sauce with onions, garlic, herbs and cream cheese. I used finer chopped celery and carrots for a little crunch. Something in between Alfredo and mac and cheese, really good. Lunch and two buckets more.
I’m working on the second soprano ukulele, the first one is done. They are copies of Uncle Bob’s 90 year old Kamaka, sort of. I’m using a mahogany body with old growth redwood soundboard and cherry necks. I modified the head form like my tenors, why not. The ribs are all cut to form, glued to the back yesterday, the front glued to the body today with the ribs laid in place for the picture.
I need to replace the pickup on the bass uke, it came in, but I need to un-string it. I think that is what’s wrong, as it was bent and doesn’t amplify. To be determined. It’s still fun to play acoustically.
Laundry done, Back to work tomorrow, in the darkness on the way.


Yesterday I cooked up last years final corned beef as they are about to be in season for Patty’s day.
 I also made a dream catcher for my coworker friend as he has trouble sleeping. Willow, jute, a quarts crystal and crow feather.
This morning I made a corned beef hash using a small onion chopped and fried, three Trader Joe’s hash browns chopped with the corned beef. Turned out great, with enough for a lunch bucket left over. I still have enough beef for a Ruben or two, bought sauerkraut. Wow, I just caught the crostinis I baked just in time, a little dark but OK.
I made a batch of potato bacon soup this afternoon, onion, one fine chopped mushroom fried in butter, a little flour for rue, garden herbs, garlic, chicken broth, 4 peeled potatoes cubed boiled to near done, half a bar of cream cheese melted in, a cup of half and half, two hand fulls of cooked bacon bits from Costco (Cathy gave me), thickened with flaked mash potato, and some fresh parsley chopped course. Really good stuff, four buckets, three frozen, one for tomorrow.
I fried a couple thin pork chops, nuked water and half and half for flaked mashed potatoes, steamed some fresh green beans, buttered and season salt. Another choice lunch ready. The crostinis are sealed, sour dough, olive oil, salt, garlic powder and basil baked at 350 F twenty minutes, Five bags of seven slices.
I worked on the soprano ukuleles. S2 needed another liner yesterday. I cut a new inside form of chip board thinner than the plywood one so the side would maintain the shape but accept the second liner. Glued and clamped with a jillian cloths pins over night. Today I pushed the redwood soundboard through the surfacer to get an even thickness. I set the table saw blade to that height, set the fence for the neck where the body notches meet and cut the neck with a few passes. The soundboard top fits flush to the neck. I set up the parts on the flat bench board, leveled the neck and the sides with course sand paper. I adjusted the wedges to force the sides flush to the neck and fit between the liners, then glued it up flat with the soundboard temporarily in place with clamps. The neck is attached to the body sides and flat. I laid out the back clamped down in preparation for the ribs.
The first soprano is ready. I made the nut in bone yesterday. I stripped off the tape and oiled the fret board and bridge with mineral oil. I burned the neck before that with the solder iron for three rectangle markers, plus small dots on the side. I installed the tuners with the hand drill tape flagged to depth and screwed the tuners in place. String time, I knotted the G string with a harp knot, folded over and tied with an overhand knot. In the bridge notch. and wound around the tuner. There is a problem in that the string is above the nut, not in contact. I added a bunch more string to the wind until the string was beneath the nut. Times four, it works, with string wound around the tuners all the way down. I cut notches in the nut to hold the strings in position using a triangle needle file. Tuned up and stretched, it plays.
Actually, really well. This is a good instrument, good action, wow, I like it.
Pictures and this story.